Serena Williams Tops the 4th Annual Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50

Illustration for article titled Serena Williams Tops the 4th Annual Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50
Screenshot: Jeffrey Salter (Sports Illustrated)

Is it just us, or is Serena Williams everywhere as of late? Just last week, we were in awe of the tennis phenom in all her unretouched golden glory on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, and now she’s once again killing the game, covering Sports Illustrated’s fourth annual Fashionable 50 issue. The tagline for the cover? “The Serena Code.”


Once again showing off her famously toned legs, Williams stuns in a sleek white bodysuit, topped by a matching tailcoat by Thom Browne. Inside the issue, the mogul—who launched her eponymous line last year—confirms that while tennis may be her main claim to fame, it’s far from her only passion.

“For me, it’s important to have something beyond tennis, because I’ve always planned on it,” Williams, looking lovely, tells the SI cameras as she reflects on her time spent in fashion school. “[A]t some point, I’m going to have to stop [playing tennis], and I’ve always wanted to have a backup plan, in case tennis didn’t work out.”

As if.

“My whole career has been really about tennis and fashion,” Williams also tells Sports Illustrated, which partners with the CFDA to compile the annual list. “I always try to make a statement when I walk out on the court—to be bold and to be unique and to kind of transcend. I always try to send the message of just being confident and being fierce.”

Who else made the list? Serena’s sister, fellow tennis star and fashion designer Venus Williams, along with a male-dominated list of fellow black fashion lovers that includes: 2018 cover co-star P.K. Subban, Odell Beckham Jr., Russell Westbrook, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dwyane Wade, Kelly Oubre Jr., James Harden, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James, Iman Shumpert, Von Miller, Cam Newton, Antonio Brown, Deandre Jordan, Nick Young, Jamal Adams, Deandre Hopkins, Neymar Jr., Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker, Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Dennis Schröder, Jimmy Butler, Mike Conley, Malcolm Jenkins, Tyrod Taylor, Russell Wilson, Evander Kane, Jarvis Landry, Rudy Gay, Kalani Brown, and Dina Asher-Smith.


And many of the list’s stars, including Williams, were on hand to celebrate Thursday night in Los Angeles. Sports Illustrated graciously granted us a glimpse on Instagram...and it sounds like Ben Simmons has some ideas for next year’s list!


Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Serena is pure Black Girl Magic. I love and admire her. She’s a phenomenal athlete with a killer body.

I have to admit that some of her magazine covers make me uncomfortable. It bothers me that magazines always place so much focus on her physicality. Knowing that Black women have often been viewed as physically more sturdy than other women, it gets to me that her body often seems to be put on display.

I mean... Idk. Before anyone @me, I am not criticizing Serena in any way. I’m just uncomfortable with the way others sometimes present us.

Am I missing something? Should I be looking at this differently? I'm genuinely asking.